English poet Alexander Pope said that ‘An honest man is the noblest work of God’. Honesty is perhaps the greatest virtue in human life. It enables a man to forsake falsehood and follow a path that his conscience tells him to be true. To be honest, means to be true to oneself and follow righteousness in speech and action to others. In fact, honesty is the basis on which a worthy character is built up. Each of us must have heard the phrase “honesty is the best Policy “. This is actually an intelligent phrase.
But it is unfortunate that dishonesty has spread in all spheres of life. We are passing through a crucial time when the values of honesty and truthfulness are being sacrificed in the pursuit of material prosperity. But a truly honest man knows how to win temptations and to keep himself to the right path. He can also stand against unjust persuasions, proposals, and provocations. He remains steady even in the midst of erosion of values pervading everywhere. It is not a matter of fact that an honest man is rich or poor. Even a poor man, if honest, commands universal respect. Honesty gives self-satisfaction. It is a reward in itself and hence it is a peerless reward. An honest person has a clean conscience. He/She fears none and keeps his/her head high. He/She remains content with whatever he/she earns by dint of hard labour.
However, we become sometimes confused when we find in modern society that dishonesty is so often rewarded. It is unfortunate that today dishonesty has spread in all spheres of life. Many people have developed a habit of hiding the truth. They do not hesitate to lie and cheat others for their mean selfish motives, and in this way, they acquire material gain. But one may rest assured that honesty is greater than wealth and prosperity. A nice but dishonest man is always flattered but not respected. He is always tormented in the soul. He is bound to suffer from the pricks of conscience at one time or another in his life.
On the other hand, we have examples of an honest rickshaw-puller, a taxi-driver, a police constable or a woman waste-picker who have the inner strength to rise above temptations. Poverty could not eclipse their honesty. Moreover, we have the exalting examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Iswarchandra Vidyasagar and some other historic persons who have practised honesty throughout their lives. Even in the days of all-pervading corruption, examples of such men are there to save the society from total degradation. They are like the big banyan trees whose roots check soil erosion and stand to protect us from pollution.
To get peace in life we need to be honest. Dishonesty may provide some temporary advantage. But the corrupt people are ultimately punished when their secret is exposed. Even when they escape the punishment they never get any peace of mind. Their enjoyment of life is often shadowed by constant anxiety and fear of detection. To the contrary, honesty is a shield against all odds. As it is armed with moral and spiritual strength, it transcends life’s trials and temptations in all situations. One’s strength comes from this realization that there is divinity in oneself. Thus dishonesty may win the race for the time being, but the final victory rests with honesty. And so we must admit that honesty is the best policy and it should be cultivated from the very childhood, preserved and protected as a treasure. In later life, a man Should be honest with his fellow men as well as with himself.